Friday, October 9, 2009

Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap. And Fr. James Martin, S.J.: On The President's Speech At Notre Dame

President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame had nothing to do with whether he is a good or bad man. He is obviously a gifted man. He has many good moral and political instincts, and an admirable devotion to his family.
These things matter. But unfortunately, so does this: The President’s views on vital bioethical issues, including but not limited to abortion, differ sharply from Catholic teaching. This is why he has enjoyed the strong support of major "abortion rights" groups for many years. Much is made, in some religious circles, of the President’s sympathy for Catholic social teaching.
But defense of the unborn child is a demand of social justice. There is no "social justice" if the youngest and weakest among us can be legally killed. Good programs for the poor are vital, but they can never excuse this fundamental violation of human rights.

An excerpt of an open letter by Fr. James Martin, SJ at the Ignatius Press blog, entitled Insight Scoop.

First of all, I am unabashedly pro-life. And in case people think I’m being artfully evasive I mean this: I believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

However, as you could see from the CNN show,
I also believe that some in the pro-life movement (defined broadly) sometimes downplays the non-abortion parts of the pro-life tradition: that is, the death penalty, war, feeding the hungry, euthanasia, and so on. These are also important “life” issues. Moreover, I believe that you can be firmly pro-life, as I am, and not agree with the precise strategies, noble as they are, of every quarter of the pro-life movement
in reaching our common goals.

That is, you don't have to violently disagree with the Notre Dame decision in order to be pro-life. Nor do you have to speak the use the same language, pursue the same political goals or, in general, do the same things, in order to sincerely and ardently work for an end to abortion.

Also, what I mean by a litmus test is this. Abortion is certainly the pre-eminent life issue these days, but it is not the only one. To my mind that is pretty much a litmus test, and so I think our understanding of what constitutes Catholic moral teaching needs to be broadened. Also, I question the notion of requiring non-Catholic politicians to be covered by the same strictures for honors, since they already do not agree with fundamental ideas like the papacy, church authority and so on.

1 comment:

dudleysharp said...

"Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars"

"Pope John Paul II: Prudential Judgement and the death penalty"

"The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"

"Killing equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents"

"The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge"

"The Death Penalty: Not a Human Rights Violation"

"Sister Helen Prejean & the death penalty: A Critical Review"